Sara Huffman

  • Hosted by Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS)
  • Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP, PG&E Corporation
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership, Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Sara provided comprehensive medical-legal advocacy and outreach to low-income elderly veterans at the San Francisco Veterans Administration.

San Francisco is home to over 13,000 senior veterans, a population that experiences high rates of mental, physical, and cognitive disability which make it difficult for them to meet basic needs and stay safely in their homes and community. The need to address these vulnerabilities is increasing in urgency at both the national and local level. Nationally, the population is aging at an explosive rate while the percentage of seniors living longer and experiencing cognitive and physical decline continues to climb steadily. Veterans are particularly vulnerable amid growing concerns over the ability of the Veterans Administration to adequately address their needs. In San Francisco, the socio-economic needs of older veterans are particularly acute due to the astronomical rise in living costs and displacement of middle- and low-income individuals from the housing market.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Sara:

  • Established a medical-legal partnership between the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic (MLPS) at UC Hastings College of the Law, called the MLPS-Veterans Project (MLPS-V)
  • Implemented a pilot plan to integrate MLPS law students into this project to help represent senior veterans
  • Represented 73 clients and provided consultations on an additional 41 discrete legal issues
  • Delivered community presentations on simple estate planning and avoiding the conservatorship process to approximately 150 seniors, including veterans and their spouses
  • Trained approximately 50 medical providers and social workers on the conservatorship process, as well as legal capacity standards for medical and financial decision making

What’s Next

Following the Fellowship, Sara stayed on at MLPS as the Managing Attorney of the MLPS-V. Sara continued working with community partners to establish and implement a plan for long-term project sustainability.


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